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Sociology Graduate Students: Research Tips

Overview of sociology resources for beginning graduate students

Getting Started

  • Talk to faculty & experts
  • Find a relevant article/book & follow the footnotes (go backward)
  • Find who cites an article/book (go forward)
  • Find in a database & look how indexed
  • Find scholars in the field & follow their research

Find a Literature Review

Finding a relevant literature review is a great jumpstart to your own research!

A literature review discusses published scholarship in an area. Generally it summarizes and organizes existing scholarship; it includes specific citations.Your research will build on the work of others or as Google Scholar puts it "stand on the soldiers of giants."

Sample article literature reviews. American Journal of Sociology; Annual Review of Sociology 

A great place to find literature reviews is in dissertations.

Dissertations are important not only for their content but for their literature reviews. Finding a reasonably current dissertation related to your topic will usually lead you to much of the literature that you need. Literature reviews are especially helpful since they are much more than an alphabetical list of sources; they put the sources in context, often describing the history of research on the topic and evaluating various appoaches.  Literature reviews are  usually so extensive that they merit a separate chapter.

Dissertations, including Emory dissertations, can be located through

Dissertations and Theses (Full-Text). (Emory Only)

Emory students can download the full-text of most dissertations.

Sample dissertation (lit review p. 29+)


Note: Sometimes articles are published that are basically literature reviews of a subject. To locate these try adding "literature review" to a subject search in a database. In addition to dissertations, Annual Review of Sociology  has good literature reviews.

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